Today’s Scrip-Bit   21 November 2021 John 10:11.

John 10:11.     I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

It’s that time again my brethren, Sunday morning, where we gather to worship our wonderful God, to sing His praises, hear His refreshing and enlightening Word, and give Him much thanks for His awesome LOVE and compassion towards us, His most undeserving children. But that’s the kind of God we serve and worship. And today’s opening song is a not so old hymn, (smile) as compared to some others we sing, written by John Willard Peterson (1921-2006), in the early years of his ministry, and aptly titled ‘No One understands like Jesus.’ 

And believe me friends, that’s the indisputable truth! And why shouldn’t it be true eh, since He is God whose thoughts and understanding are incomparable, and when you add the fact that Jesus Himself underwent all the stuff that we go through down here on earth, it certainly adds up to a wealth of understanding. That’s why Hebrews can tell us: ‘For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched (who cannot sympathize) with the feeling of our infirmities (weaknesses); but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly (confidently) unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.’ (Heb. 4:15-16) 

Anyway, enough talk, time to do some singing. And in our usual harmonious and soulful manner let’s offer up our sacrifices of praise to heaven and our marvellous Godhead. ‘No one understands like Jesus. He’s a friend beyond compare; Meet Him at the throne of mercy; He is waiting for you there. (Chorus: No one understands like Jesus When the days are dark and grim; No one is so near, so dear as Jesus– Cast your ev’ry care on Him!) No one understands like Jesus; Ev’ry woe He sees and feels; Tenderly He whispers comfort, And the broken heart He heals. 

(Chorus) No one understands like Jesus When the foes of life assail; You should never be discouraged; Jesus cares and will not fail! (Chorus) No one understands like Jesus When you falter on the way; Tho’ you fail Him, sadly fail Him, He will pardon you today. (Chorus: No one understands like Jesus When the days are dark and grim; No one is so near, so dear as Jesus– Cast your ev’ry care on Him! Cast your every care on Him, Cause no one understands like Jesus.’ 

You can say that again my people: ‘No one understands like Jesus!’ (smile) And there seems to be an interesting and heart-felt story behind the writing of this song, as there usually are behind many of our favourite tunes. Mr. Peterson appears to have been quite involved in Christian music and tells the story thus: ‘”At one time I had a responsible position with a well-known gospel ministry. One day a supervisory position opened up in my department. I was led to believe that I was to be promoted to this position. I was thrilled and challenged by the prospect of a new joy. But I was by-passed, and a man from the outside was brought in to fill the position.  

There followed days of agonizing heart searching. It was all I could do to keep from becoming bitter. One night I had occasion to spend an evening with the man who was brought in for “my” position. For some reason or other, though otherwise a very pleasant fellow, that night he became quite caustic in some of his remarks to me; and I was deeply hurt. Later that evening, after returning home, I was sitting in our living room thinking about the events of the past days and about the bitter experiences of that evening. I began to feel very alone and forsaken. 

Suddenly, I sensed the presence of the Lord in an unusual way and my mind was diverted from my difficulties to His faithfulness and sufficiency. Soon the thought occurred to me that He fully understood and sympathized with my situation–in fact, no one could ever completely understand or care as did He. Before long, the idea for the song came and I began to write. “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you” (Ps. 55:22). 

And Peter, who witnessed the perfidy of Judas, echoed his words: “Casting all your care [anxiety] upon Him, for He cares [is deeply concerned] for you” (I Pet. 5:7). Discouragement gripped him. He felt alone and forsaken, and was tempted to become bitter, until he began thinking about the great compassion of the Lord. Who cares? He does!’ 

Yes friends, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ does care deeply about us, else why would He leave the joys and comforts of heaven and come to earth in human flesh to suffer the humiliation and abuse He did eh? These awesome words of His speak plainly of caring. ‘For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ (Jon 3:16) There was no reason for the Father to do that, except that His LOVE and compassion for us was so great, He couldn’t just allow us to lose our souls and end up in Hades with Beelzebub. 

So Jesus’ coming to earth was all about caring. And the Good Book tells us in so many instances of God’s care and concern for us. Let’s check out a few nuh. Mr. Peterson mentioned a couple. The first one being the words of Bruh David from Psalm 55 – A cry against deceitful friends – where he declares in no uncertain manner: ‘Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer (permit, allow) the righteous to be moved (shaken).’ (Ps. 55:22) and if you are a believer in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, then it’s imperative that you believe those words! 

Then there was Peter, who experienced Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, as well as his own, when he thrice denied knowing Christ, having been forewarned by Christ that he would do it. And when the cock crowed and Jesus looked around at Peter, he must have wished the earth could open up and swallow him, the shame he felt. (Luke 22:55-62) But the Lord not only forgave Peter, but also encouraged him, ‘Feed my sheep.’  (John 21:15-19) And Peter rose to be one of the leaders of the church. 

All of that caring and compassion of Jesus, must have compelled him to write: ‘Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you.’ (1 Pet. 5:6-7) And that’s the gospel truth friends! Peter experienced it, so he could testify to it. Likewise, many of us have also experienced the Lord’s care and compassion in our normal everyday lives, but you know what, in these turbulent and dangerous times we need to seek His care and compassion even more than usual, since the world is in such turmoil. 

And Psalm 37 – the true state of the wicked – has a couple of interesting verses that we should all take hold of. ‘Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass…The steps of a good man are ordered (established) by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.’ (Ps. 37:5, 23-24) 

Oh my fellow believers there’s no doubt whatsoever that Jesus cares for us. How else can you interpret these words of His: ‘I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.’ (John 10:11) My fellow saints, please ponder those words today, and see if they don’t add up to a tender and heartfelt caring on the part of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Much LOVE!

…no one understands…or cares…like Jesus… 

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8           

Today’s Scrip-Bit   11 November 2021 John 10:14.

John 10:14.     I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and are known of mine. 

Then Thursday opened somewhat cloudy in my area – but still with great promise, meaning it can go one way or the other; that’s rain or shine…or even just stay cloudy. (smile) However, the beauty of Jesus and His Holy Spirit that dwells within us, is that they only, and always bring sunshine, no cloud cover whatsoever! Therefore, we can always have some sunshine in our lives when we have Jesus as our reigning Lord and Saviour! Give Him some thanks and praise my people for His wonderful goodness to the children of men! 

Without His life-saving sacrifice on the cross at Calvary, we Gentiles would have been headed straight for Hades. But His sacrificial death and resurrection were life-giving instruments to us; that means we were also given the option of eternal life in heaven, and not that of hell alone. As He said so compassionately in His famous soliloquy on His role as a shepherd. ‘I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and are known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also must I bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold (flock), and one shepherd.’ (John 10:14-16) 

That other sheep, the other fold, means us, my brethren, who would be given the option of salvation later on, through the zealous work of Bruh Paul’s preaching of the gospel to the Gentile world. Ah friends, Bruh Paul, formerly known as Saul, was very instrumental in persecuting the early Christians, until his journey to Damascus to continue that persecution. On the road, Jesus accosted him and miraculously changed his outlook on life. Listen to the story of his conversion as he told it to King Agrippa. 

‘At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue (language), Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard to kick against the pricks (goads – a sharp stick used to prod cattle to move, so Jesus was telling him it was foolish to resist). And I said, Who art thou Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. 

But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear (reveal) unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom I now send thee. To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified (set apart) by faith that is in me.’ (Acts 26:13-18) 

Wow! What a faithful Saviour we have my brethren! Remember He promised to bring us, His other flock unto Him and make one fold. But who ever thought He would set it in motion so miraculously and through Saul, the most feared persecutor of the early brethren? But that’s the way our great God moves – in mysterious ways His wondrous works to perform, to open man’s eyes and bring light to their darkness. 

And the wonderful thing about Bruh Paul is that after his conversion, he was just as zealous in saving Christians, as he was in persecuting them before he saw the light. Oh, how I wish that some of his zeal would rob off on some of us modern day believers, for with it, we could turn this evil and ungodly world upside down. 

Now hear these marvellous words Bruh Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus concerning the unity of all believers, which we spoke of earlier on, that’s the joining together of both the Jewish and Gentile believers under Christ’s august leadership. He writes: ‘Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands.’ (Eph. 2:11) And the scholars explain: ‘Uncircumcision was a derogatory term used by the Jews regarding Gentiles because the latter were uncircumcised. Jews called themselves the Circumcision since they were circumcised.’  

And Bruh Paul continues: ‘That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.’ (Eph. 2:12) That basically means that before they became Christians, the Gentiles were aliens from the Jewish nation, who were God’s people, so they had no part in the promises of God, like salvation and all the other godly goodies the Jews had been promised. 

‘But now,’ Bruh Paul writes, ‘in Christ Jesus ye who were sometimes (once) far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ ( able to have a proper relationship with Him). For he (Jesus Himself) is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition (separation) between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances for to make (create) in himself of twain (the two) one new man, so making peace. And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain (put to death) the enmity thereby. And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.’ (Eph. 2:13-17) 

Wow! What powerful scriptures my fellow saints. And what does it all mean? Listen to the scholars: ‘2:14-15.Who hath made both one: Jesus has formed the two antagonistic groups of Jew and Gentile into a single new party, the Christian church. He did this by removing the middle wall of partition, that is the Mosaic Law. The law was meant to protect Jews from pagan corruptions; but by misconstruing the purpose of the law, the Jews felt superior to Gentiles, who were incensed at this arrogance. So Jesus abolished this enmity (hatred), caused by an abuse of the law, by making the law invalid for His church. Of twain one new man: As above, Christian Jews and Christian Gentiles now compass this “one new man” or Christian church.’  

Yes friends, that’s basically how the Christian church, became one body, from two flocks. And we need to give much thanks and praise for Jesus being compassionate enough to include us Gentiles in His church. And that compassion isn’t only talk, but also action, as we discover through our Thursday Blessings, that He’s so generously bestowed on us to do His earthly work. And since a blessing isn’t a blessing until it’s spoken out loud, let’s declare them now nuh, in loud, proud and grateful voice. 

‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to, will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and every day! Amen!’ 

Our job now is to go out and share those blessings with others just as generously as Jesus shared them with us, so that they too can come to know and LOVE Him, like we do! Much LOVE!

…the only ONE who can bring unity and LOVE to all…Jesus…the Prince of Peace…Lord of Lords…and King of Kings…                                                                                                                       

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8            

Today’s Scrip-Bit   19 October 2021 John 14:6.

John 14:6.     I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

And then it was Tuesday; another bright sunshiny, though somewhat chilly day in my area. But who cares what the physical day looks like eh, when we’ve got our wonderful Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to brighten it up in all circumstances eh? Ah mih people, I do hope that we are realizing just how important Jesus is to us, especially in these dangerous and unprecedented times, for without Him, we don’t stand a chance of defeating the numerous problems that are currently facing us. 

He is the ONLY One who can bring us some sort of peace and comfort within the depths of the storm! He is the ONLY One who can help us to carry the back-breaking burdens so many of us bear! And He is the ONLY One who can offer us the free and marvellous gift of salvation, of resurrection from the dead and a glorious life with Him in heaven when our feeble and fragile earthly body returns to the dust from whence it originally came! So, bearing in mind all of that, how important is He to you eh? I hope your immediate and most emphatic answer is ‘Mucho, Mucho Importante!’ (smile) 

And if you claim to be one of His followers and He isn’t very important, or rather of the utmost importance in your life, then something is seriously wrong with your belief system. Please remember this conversation that Jesus had with the disciples. He told them: ‘And whither I go ye know (talking about His return to heaven), and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’ (John 14:4-6) 

And don’t forget this other attribute, when He said to the disbelieving Pharisees: ‘I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.’ (John 8:12) Therefore friends, if Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life and the Light, how can anything or anybody be more important than Him in our lives eh? No way! Not if we are His sincere followers. 

Now let’s look at a few scriptures that certify that Jesus was indeed all those things He claimed, beginning with the Way. Before He came sins were paid for with animal sacrifices, and the high priest entered the holiest of holies once a year to offer prayers for himself and the people. But after Jesus was crucified and the veil was torn down that separated the holiest of the holies from the other parts of the temple, Jesus became the Way, the sacrifice, once and for ALL time for ALL sin! 

No more sacrificing of animals for forgiveness, or the high priest going into the holiest of holies once a year. Forgiveness and salvation were now accomplished through Christ! As Hebrews tells us: ‘Having therefore brethren, boldness (confidence) to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.’ (Heb. 10:19-20) Yes friends, Jesus is indeed ‘the new and living way by which believers have direct access into the very Holy Place of God.’ With Jesus seated at God’s right hand, we don’t need anybody else to intercede for us. We can personally go in His blessed name. 

And as per the Truth, John tells us in no uncertain terms. ‘And the Word was made (became) flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth… For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.’ (John 1: 14, 17) Yuh see that people, grace and truth only came with Jesus. before that there was only the law, which was abused by man for their own evil and selfish purposes. But grace and truth could not be used thus. 

And Jesus Himself claimed truth came from Him. Listen as he speaks to the Jews who believed on Him. ‘If ye continue (abide) in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.’ (John 8:31-32) Oh people of God, only if we abide in the Word of Jesus can we ever know the truth, and nothing but the truth, for He is the truth, and if you don’t know Him, you won’t know truth! It’s not complicated at all. (smile) 

And furthermore, hear Jesus as He talks to Pilate. ‘Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest (rightly) that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.’ (John 18:37) That means, if you don’t know Jesus and hear His voice, then you don’t know the truth! 

And per the Life, listen to Jesus talk to Martha before He raised her brother Lazarus from the dead. ‘Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead (may die), yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?’ (John 11:23-26) 

And as the scholars explain: ‘11:25. I am the resurrection is one of Jesus’ greatest “I am” statements, signifying His power to give eternal life.’ Consequently friends, if you’re seeking eternal life, then you must go through Jesus, for that’s the only way to get it! (smile) 

And if you want to dispute about ‘no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,’ then listen to these pertinent and most decisive scriptures. This one from Bruh Paul’s first letter to Timothy. ‘For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.’ (1 Tim. 2:5-6) Jesus died at the right time, giving proof that God wanted all men to be saved. 

Now listen to Jesus as He spoke the parable about being the Good Shepherd and the people not understanding Him. (John 10:1-6) ‘Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for (except) to steal and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.’ (John 10:7-11) 

And that’s exactly what Christ did friends; He gave His life, as the Good Shepherd for us sinful sheep! And if we don’t appreciate it and consequently live for Him, then we’re only fooling ourselves and headed down the path of destruction and eternal separation from God. There’s no more that I can say to convince you of Jesus’ utmost importance in your life. 

However, for those of us who do believe and are trying to live a suitable life, then let’s go home declaring (yeahhh!!!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the whole world know who and whose we are. As one strong voice: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world. Amen!’ 

That means we must now go out and share the LOVE and friendship of Jesus with others, so that they too can come to know and LOVE Him like we do, because He is ever so essential in everyone’s life! Much LOVE!

…to put it simply…without Jesus…we are nothing…                                                                                                      

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8                       

Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 November 2020 John 10:11.

John 10:11.     ​I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

Oh friends, the Lord’s Day has rolled around once again, but sadly, this time His house, His sanctuary is desolate because of the Coronavirus lockdown. Thankfully though, that doesn’t mean He can’t bless us and make His face to shine upon us, because we’ll still be gathering to sing and praise and worship Him, though through virtual means, through the wonders of technology. 

And because of all the strife, confusion, upheaval and discontent that’s currently running rampant in our world, I decided that we needed a real thankful and joyful song to open our worship today, something to lift our spirits and remind us of our God’s goodness and LOVING-kindness. And I’m sure you’ll all agree that there could not be a better song than this one to do it. I’m talking about ‘Oh Happy Day!’ 

Yes mih people, up on point today is that 1967 gospel music arrangement by the Edwin Hawkins Singers of the 18thcentury hymn written by clergyman Philip Doddridge, which in the intervening years has certainly become a gospel music standard. Just check out YouTube and you’ll see the many different versions. And today we’re really going to get into it, giving it the full gospel treatment, with lots of hand clapping, the music rich and soulful and scintillating, with the tambourines jangling and the call and answer response right up front, for that’s what really lends the song its verve and chutzpah. (smile) 

So altogether now, in full voice, letting heaven know that we’re serious and sincere: ‘Oh, happy day (Oh, happy day) Oh, happy day (Oh, happy day) When Jesus washed (When Jesus washed) Oh, when He washed (When Jesus washed) When Jesus washed (When Jesus washed) He washed my sins away (Oh, happy day) Oh, happy day (Oh, happy day) (Repeat) 

He taught me how (He taught me how) To watch and fight and pray Watch and pray And live rejoicing every day Every day Oh, happy day (Oh, happy day) Oh, happy day (Oh, happy day) When Jesus washed (When Jesus washed) Oh, when He washed (When Jesus washed) When Jesus washed (When Jesus washed) He washed my sins away (Oh, happy day) Oh, happy day (Oh, happy day) 

He taught me how (He taught me how) To watch and fight and pray Watch and pray And live rejoicing every day (Good God) Every day Oh, happy day (Oh, happy day) Oh, it’s a happy day (Oh, happy day) Oh, Lord (Oh, happy day) Mmm, good God (Oh, happy day) Oh yeah (Oh, happy day) Mmm, oh (Oh, happy day).’ 

Yes mih bredrin, that was an awesome version! Heaven had no doubt that we were sincere! And this time, Jesus couldn’t just sit smiling shyly by the Father’s side…how could He when all heaven was dancing, singing and clapping too eh…including the Father? Jesus had to get up and do a li’l two step to acknowledge the praise and worship. And believe me precious people, Jesus deserves all of that adoration and reverence for the willing sacrifice; crucifixion on the old rugged cross at Calvary, that He made on our behalf! 

Wow! What a day it truly was when He washed our sins away, when He paid the Father’s steep price to cleanse and save us from hellfire and damnation! It was indeed the happiest day that mankind had ever experienced, and the best gift ever given to us after the Lord breathed His breath of life into our forefather Adam’s nostrils! As Jesus so rightly said of Himself: ‘I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.’ (John 10:11) And that’s exactly what He did; gave His life for us on the cross, so that we could be reconciled to the Father and live…live forever! Glory be people! 

How amazing and sacrificial is that eh! And hear Him later on nuh: ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck (snatch) them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck (snatch) them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.’ (John 10:27-30) Mama Mia! What beautiful words of reassurance? 

And the scholars express it thus: ‘10:27-29. Never perish: These verses declare the assurance that all believers will be utterly safe from any creature that might wish to destroy them.’ Can any other faith sincerely promise that? Absolutely not! And what’s so great about Jesus is not that He just washed our sins away, but He also taught us to how to watch and fight and pray! Glory Hallelujah! What a giant He is! 

And to add to all that, He taught us how to live rejoicing every day too! So why wouldn’t we proud of Him eh? And revere and adore and worship Him; as well as call Him Lord and Saviour? No reason whatsoever to do otherwise my fellow saints in Christ! 

But unfortunately I have to muddy the waters here, cause not all of His followers walk the talk that they talk. Too many of us don’t watch and fight and pray, nor live rejoicing every day, although our sins have been washed away and we’ve been guaranteed eternal life. Now isn’t that a crying shame, because it just makes Jesus’ sacrifice of no account if we keep on living that joyless, ungodly life. Remember what He also said: ‘I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ (John 10:10) That means we’re supposed to enjoy our earthly lives if we’re true believers, not live downtrodden and dismal existences. 

Oh my people, heaven begins here on earth if you’re a follower of Jesus, and we ought to be the happiest and most joyful group of people on the planet because of all that He’s done and promised to do in the future. So let’s get with the programme nuh, let’s change our attitudes, lift our heads and give God the glory through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, for that’s why He sacrificed His sinless life! Much LOVE!

…if you’re a true believer…then you ought to be joyful…for the joy of the Lord is your strength… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 February 2020 Isaiah 40:11.

Isaiah 40:11.    ​He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
 

Come Tuesday…I’m glad to be alive! Come Tuesday…my soul’s soaring to high heaven, because the Lord has kept His promise to get me through Monday all in one piece! Wow friends! I hope we’re all in the same boat…the one with Jesus being the guide, captain and pilot! For it’s only that boat, the one with that commander, that will get us safely through the storms of this earthly life to the other side, where there is no more pain and suffering, no darkness, just joy and everlasting peace in the light of Jesus! 

And in keeping with that theme of trust and surrender to Jesus, here is this simple but most appropriate prayer from our One Year Book of Bible Promises with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin. It’s titled ‘Heartstrings.’ Please pray with me: ‘Lord, with no sense of direction I’m forever losing my way. Please tie a string From Your heart to mine So that even in the darkness I’ll feel the tug of Your heart And find my way home.’ Oh my people, that’s so simple, but ever so touching in its directness and simplicity. 

What better way to stay attached to our Maker than with the awesome connection of a heart string. That way, we can never lose our focus, it will be ever stayed on Him, as it ought to. And that’s exactly what’s promised in Isaiah: comfort, through trust in the Lord. Listen to these most comforting words. ‘Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand (in strength), and his arm shall rule for him: behold his reward is with him, and his work (wage) before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.’ (Is.40:10-11) 

How can you ever beat such a promise eh precious people of God? You simply can’t! And our Bit is the Bible Promise for our poem today; the awesome promise of Almighty God to feed and gently care for all those who wisely come to Him for help, who desire to be in His fold and allow Him to lead and guide them like a kind and caring shepherd does his sheep. And there are so many references to God being our shepherd in the Good Book that we can’t  cover them all, so we’ll just highlight a few; the first from the prophet Ezekiel. 

‘Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle (sheep) and cattle (sheep). And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it.’ (Ezek. 34:22-24). What a mighty promise friends! And according to the scholars the reference to Bruh David there is in regards to his role during the Millennium reign of Christ. He will be appointed a shepherd of Christ’s flock. 

Now we’ll turn to the words of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, awesome words that we all claim to know, but as always, don’t fully put into practice, otherwise our lives wouldn’t be in such an ungodly mess. (smile) Hear the Master: ‘The thief cometh not, but for (except) to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.’ (John 10:10-11) And isn’t that exactly what He did on the cross at Calvary…give His sinless life so selflessly for us, the hoped-for sheep of His pasture? 

That’s the amazing positivity and optimism of Christ; that before He was even sure of a flock, He died to preserve them! Wow! No one else would ever dream of doing that…except our Saviour! And as He continues later on: ‘I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also must I bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold (flock), and one shepherd.’ (John 10:14-16) 

Oh friends, the other flock Jesus was referring to there was us, the non-Jews, the Gentiles, whom He greatly desired to also include in His one worldwide flock at a slightly later date, through Bruh Paul. So this morning, whatever the circumstances in which we find ourselves, let’s make sure that we know, and are hearing the voice of our Good Shepherd nuh, as He walks and talks and guides us safely and LOVINGLY through our day. 

As Bruh David so famously described it: ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me…’  (Ps. 23:1-4) Yes friends, those are gospel truths, if we believe in Jesus Christ! 

So for those of us who sincerely belief, let’s go home now telling the world in no uncertain voice, who and whose we are as set out in our Tuesday Mantra. In strong voice with sincere hearts: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world.  Amen!’ 

So let’s go out now and do just that nuh; share the LOVE and friendship of Jesus with those unfortunate ones who don’t know Him! Much LOVE!

…and ye my flock…the flock of my pasture…are men…and I am your God…saith the Lord God…(Ezek. 34:31)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 September 2019 Isaiah 40:11.

Isaiah 40:11.    ​He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
 

Good news people! Today’s Tuesday! Wow! That means the frustrating and oftimes emotionally negative day called Monday is past and gone, now confined to the dustbin of history, and we can therefore move on without any fear or anxiety about it…at least for another week! (smile) Yeh, a brand new day on God’s great earth has blossomed, for which we ought to be eternally grateful. 

Now here is this poem from our One Year Book of Bible Promises with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin that highlights some of our problems, but then shows us the answer to them all. It is appropriately titled: ‘I Keep Running Back to You.’ 

Please pray with me. ‘You know how it is with me, Lord: So often I mess up my days. I judge harshly I am critical and obstinate I waste time and energy I blame others for my failure. There are people I try to avoid And tasks I try to evade And when I can’t have my own way I sulk in my own little corner. Lord, I even turn my back on You To escape Your penetrating gaze. 

Then finally I get fed up with myself. The intolerable loneliness frightens me And I can no longer endure my shame. It always happens, Lord – I keep running back to You! Where else can I go? Who else understands me so well Or forgives me so totally? Who else can save me from foolish pride? No one, Lord, but You. So thank You for accepting me For LOVING me For always welcoming me. I just can’t help it, Lord I keep running back to You!’ 

And my fellow believers that’s just wisdom at it’s highest level! For there’s NO ONE like our great, merciful and LOVING God, who is willing to accept us just as we are! And He’s even happier than us when we come running back to Him, because remember His ultimate desire is that He loses not a SINGLE ONE of His most precious creation to the evil and satanic realm! 

That’s why Isaiah proclaimed in his writings these wonderful words of hope and encouragement: ‘He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.’ Mama Mia! How can you not want to be a child of Almighty God with such awesome promises being made eh? 

And furthermore, we know that the Lord never breaks any of His promises, He keeps every single one, which means that offer of shepherd-like care and LOVE are not just empty words, but a most generous enticement and welcome to His wonderful fold! And there are so many scriptures that portray our great God as a wonderful and caring shepherd that today I just want to share a few of them. 

And we all know the most popular one; those remarkable words of Bruh David: ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.’ (Ps.23:1) Oh friends, those few, simple but endearing and enduring words say it all! With God being our shepherd we’ll never want for any good thing! 

And Jeremiah joyfully declares: ‘Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles (ends, lands) afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he.’ (Jer.31:10-11) 

Ah mih people, although the Lord punished Israel for their abominable sins, His LOVE for them was so great, He promised to gather the remnant and bring them back to their homeland and treat them like a caring shepherd. What other supposed God is so magnanimous eh? NONE but ours! 

Meanwhile Ezekiel confirms: ‘Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle (sheep) and cattle (sheep). And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David: he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it.’ (Ezek.34:22-24) 

And lest you think that that’s all Old Testament stuff, hear the realization of all those promises from the One and Only, Jesus Christ Himself, as He rightly and righteously proclaims: ‘I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.’ (John 10:11) And so He did my brethren! And so He selflessly and sacrificially did! 

And as He further declares: ‘I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold (flock), and one shepherd.’ (John 10:14-16) 

Yes friends, that’s us, Gentiles, non-Jews, that Jesus is referring to there! Please note He didn’t forget about us, but very much included us in His all-encompassing flock!  One flock, and One shepherd! That’s all that’s needed when our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ is so great and wonderful! Are you hearing His voice today people? Are you heeding His shepherd’s call? I certainly hope so, since your eternal destiny depends totally on it! End of sermon! (smile) 

Now let’s go home declaring (wow!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the entire world know who and whose we are. In strong and sincere voice now: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world.  Amen!’ 

And if we’re truly sincere, then let’s go out and share that awesome and amazing LOVE and friendship of Jesus with others who don’t know it nuh. That’s our bounden duty and Great Commission! Much LOVE!

…if you’re a sheep…then you need a shepherd…and the best there is…His name is Jesus…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 September 2018 John 10:11.

John 10:11. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
 

Ah friends, sorry for the Bit’s lateness, but I went to bed late, got up late, and had a few things to do before I began writing. But the good news is, here I am at last! Glory! Glory! (smile) 

 Oh isn’t it just great to be alive? To be able to laugh and sing, run and jump, (not me… just yet), and even cry once in a while? It surely is, especially when we are living with and working for our wonderful Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ! Oh praise His holy name my faithful brethren; exalt the name that’s above EVERY other name, to whom ALL knees MUST eventually bow! 

Yeh, that’s our Messiah, our Prince of Peace, our heavenly Advocate, Our Burden Bearer, Our Comforter, in fact our Be All and End All, our EVERYTHING! Wow! Are we ever so blessed to have a Leader of such awesome proportions! Let’s give Him the thanks and praise He deserves…and all day long at that! 

Yeh, the ole fella’s in a joyful, exclamatory mood this morning! And why not eh? I just got some most excellent news; news that my heart problems have improved…Glory to God! And I’m now medically fit to travel…Oh mih brethren, that’s the best news ever! 

It’s been almost three years that I’ve been parked up here without the ability to get on an iron bird. But yuh know what, as I keep saying our God is ever so faithful, because many a day I’ve lain in my bed and looked through my window at the iron birds coming and going to and from the nearby airport, wondering when I’d be able to get on one. 

And the Good Lord has always quieted my heart by promising that one day, in the not too distant future, He will lift the medical limitations and free me from this onerous bondage… And now He has done just as He has promised! Bless His holy name! So in light of that extraordinary faithfulness, why wouldn’t I just offer up my whole heart and soul, thanks and praise to Him eh? No reason whatsoever my people! 

But enough of my excitement…let’s get on with the Bit. It’s Saturday, that means we need to look at some of the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week. And we do have a whole slew of then this week, all dealing with change. And we will begin with this one: ‘If you don’t like change, you will like irrelevance even less.’ 

I’m not so sure about that nuh, because the human animal is so eccentric and confusing, and dislikes change so much, that a lot of us will probably prefer to be irrelevant rather than to change. That leads us to this quote: ‘The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change.’ 

Now that I definitely disagree with! In my many years and much trial and testing on God’s earth, I’ve usually found that the price of change is usually much higher than the price of standing stationary. In particular the effort that one has to put out to make whatever change is necessary. That’s why so many people just stay the same way in the same place. 

That’s why this next quote is the living truth! ‘Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.’ Now that’s exactly why so many of us resist change, even change that’s obviously in our best interest! Change just doesn’t come easy. And this one mirrors the truth of the last. ‘The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.’ And so it has my brethren… though not always for the better! 

That brings us to the last quote: ‘I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better.’ And isn’t that that the undeniable truth people? Unless our world changes, and drastically too, and also towards Jesus, until we stop trying to drive God out of our society and instead, embrace Him with all our hearts, souls, bodies and minds, our world will just continue sinking inexorably, relentlessly into the muck and mire of Lucifer’s evil empire. 

And that is not what our Saviour came to earth and suffered so much for. That’s definitely not why He suffered such pain and humiliation and eventually gave up His sinless life on that wooden cross at Calvary. If He wanted us to become part and parcel of Lucifer’s evil empire, He would have just remained in His cozy corner in heaven enjoying all the exotic delights provided by His Father. But He sacrificially gave all of that up to come and save our sinful souls. 

Remember friends, Lucifer is the master of thievery, lies and deception, an evil genius in leading mankind astray. Just look at how he deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden, and he’s still doing it to us to this day. However Jesus declared, and proved it too: ‘The thief cometh not, but (except) for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.’ (John 10:10-11) 

And there is absolutely no doubt that that’s what Jesus did on the cross at Calvary; give His sinless, holy life on behalf of our abominable sinful souls, so that the Father could justifiably forgive us and reconcile us to Himself. So why are we still foolishly running behind Lucifer and his evil, lustful, carnal, ungodly way of life eh? A way of life that will only lead to eternal separation from our heavenly Father; the worst fate that can ever befall a human soul! 

I don’t know the answer to that nuh friends, but I am surely trying my best to stay away from that end result…and I sincerely hope that you are trying to do the same, because that’s the ultimate in wisdom! Much LOVE!

…as for me and mine…we will definitely follow Jesus…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 19 August 2018 John 10:10b-11.

John 10:10b-11.   I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

Awright my believing brethren, what shall we say about this day eh? ‘This is the day the Lord has made we WILL rejoice and be glad in it!’ And what else? That this is the Lord’s Day and we WILL go to His sanctuary to give Him much praise and thanks, to celebrate our blessed lives and fellowship with others of the same belief! 

We shall also listen to His Word, let it seep into our hearts and souls, and consequently have our spirits refilled with God’s LOVE through His Holy Spirit, so that we can walk tall and strong, proud and confident, when we depart from His sanctuary! And all God’s people said a loud and grateful: ‘Praise the Lord!’ 

Yes friends, our God is indeed worthy to be praised! And there’s no better way to praise Him than in song: He enjoys it, and it brings the best out of us. And today’s song of praise is a favourite gospel song from a few years back, one we all know and LOVE; it’s simply but oh so meaningfully titled ‘Oh Happy Day!’ 

It was written by the gospel singer Edwin Hawkins, and first recorded by the Edwin Hawkins Singers. Unfortunately though, Edwin Hawkins died a few weeks ago, but in conjunction with his choir, he left the world a wonderful legacy in song. I also saw a wonderful rendition of it on You Tube by Ray Charles and the Voices of Jubilation choir. Oh, Ray was so worked up that on his way off the stage he stopped at least three times and did a Happy Day dance! 

So let’s open our hearts and mouths and allow our voices to soar to high heaven with these few simple but oh so meaningful words. Remember, half the beauty of the song is in its call and response style, so let’s call and respond in all sincerity and truth nuh, letting our magnificent and magnanimous God know how deep is our joy, in having the wonderful privilege of worshipping Him. Hn! I hope that makes sense. 

But anyway, enough talk, let’s sing: ‘Oh happy day (oh happy day) Oh happy day (oh happy day) When Jesus washed (when Jesus washed) When Jesus washed (when Jesus washed) When Jesus washed (when Jesus washed) He washed my sins away (oh happy day) 

Oh happy day (oh happy day) He taught me how to watch, fight and pray, fight and pray And live rejoicing every, everyday Oh happy day He taught me how to watch, fight and pray, fight and pray And live rejoicing every, everyday Oh happy day Oh happy day (oh happy day) Oh happy day (oh happy day).’ 

Oh my fellow believers, how could we not be ecstatic eh, when Jesus washed away our sins, cleansed us with the blood He shed on Calvary? He also taught us how to watch, to fight and pray and live rejoicing every day! Glory be! We’d be foolish and ungrateful if we didn’t appreciate His stellar and selfless efforts on our behalf. 

Just look at what our Bit says: ‘I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.’ And that’s exactly what Jesus did my brethren! He gave His life so that we could enjoy abundant living in concert with the Father; redeemed, made righteous once again, with salvation and eternal life the end benefits. 

That means Christians ought to be the happiest people on Planet Earth…and show it in our behaviour too. For why would anyone want to come to Jesus if we claim to have so much wonderful stuff when we believe in Him, but our attitudes and demeanour are sour and miserable and definitely don’t reflect the joy we talk about so much eh? 

If our everyday lives aren’t filled with hope, happiness and heavenly thoughts and longing then we’re not true believers and/or Jesus sacrificed His sinless life in vain. Please friends, let that not be the case, because it would break both the Father and Jesus’ hearts. 

So please let’s make every day a happy day nuh; watching for His promised return; fighting the many evil enemies who want to discredit Him and turn us away. But they don’t know that when we get on our knees, both literally and figuratively, and pray to the Father in His name that the battle is as good as won! Glory Hallelujah! 

And with all of that good stuff, the rejoicing just comes naturally. Ah mih people, we have so much to look forward to when we sincerely make Jesus our Lord and Saviour. And when our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, then we’re sealed forever as a child of God, our bonds are so ironclad that nothing, or no one can ever break them. That’s how powerful association with the Lord and His heavenly host is. 

So today, let’s step right up to the plate and hit the devil right out of the park for a large home run. That’ll show him to mess with Jesus’ people! Much LOVE!

…as a believer in Jesus…we’re promised joy for ever more…now who in their right senses would refuse that eh…

 


 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 July 2018 John 10:11.

John 10:11.   I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

Ah friends, it’s Saturday and some of you are sleeping in, some of you have been up bright and early to do your household chores; as they say no rest for the wicked. (smile) Meanwhile, others are mourning the passing of their dear departed ones, like my friends and family back in Tobago, mourning the passing of their mentor, teacher and pastor, father and friend, Finbar Sebro. 

But yuh know what? It’s all a part of life, and we just have to go with the flow, and once we have Jesus as our helpmeet and guiding light, we WILL make it through, though not always as easily as we desire. (smile) Yeh, we always want the easy way out, but that’s not how God operates. 

Sometimes He desires us to feel the lash, so that we can reach our wits end and turn to Him, or to grow us in the likeness of his Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. But know this, that whatever He allows to come against us, He WILL NEVER allow to conquer us! What an awesome and wonderful God we serve my brethren! 

And since it’s Saturday, let’s turn to some quotes from our friend Anselm, who aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. Listen to this first quote: ‘Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway.’ And isn’t that living truth! Whatever we do, somebody or some group will criticize us. We’ll never be able to satisfy everybody. However, we have to make sure that’s what’s in our heart is also what’s in the Lord’s heart for us. 

And this next quote sort of runs on from the last one: ‘Do the best you can until you know better, and when you know better do better.’ Yeh friends, that’s all the Lord asks of us; to do the best we can. And as He moves us along from glory to glory and we get more mature in the faith, He does expect us to do better than we did before in the lower class. (smile) 

Then there’s this: ‘Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.’ And I’ll say Amen, to the first two aspects. However, to the last one, I’d like to add, ‘define yourself in respect to God’s will for you.’ If you don’t bring Almighty God into the equation, then you’ll still be a victim. For as they say, if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything, especially in these deceitful and untrustworthy times. 

And the last quote tells us: ‘The people who follow the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The people who walk alone are likely to find themselves in places no one has been before.’ And isn’t that the gospel truth friends! You see it happening all the time, especially in these days of a prevailing and pervasive social media. It’s all about how many followers you have. Steups! And the followers are no brighter than you! 

Now why would I spend so much of my time following the lives of others, to the detriment of mine eh? It’s obvious that the time you spend following others is time lost on your own. Following the crowd, for the sake of merely following the crowd, never benefits the individuals’ involved. It only benefits the leader. 

That’s why it’s always better to be a leader rather than a follower, even though leading is a hard task in and of itself, and it very often causes you to walk down a long and lonely road. But in the end, you will go places that being a mere follower will never take you. 

Friends, the ONLY person we should be followers of, and very avid followers at that, is of Jesus Christ, for He is the ONLY Leader who will NEVER lead us astray. He came down from heaven to be a man like us, He died so that we could be set free from the bondage of sin, and is now interceding for us at the right hand of the Father in heaven… So why would He do all of that and then lead us astray eh? No reason whatsoever! 

Hear His immortal words in our Bit: ‘I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.’ Yes my faithful brethren, the good shepherd looks after His flock with LOVE and tender care, even to the point of dying to save them! Oh precious people, that is exactly what Jesus did on our behalf! Glory to God! 

So why is it so difficult to follow Him eh? Why is it like pulling teeth to bow to His kingship? I guess because we want to do our own thing, and surrendering our lives to Him means giving up our independence and no longer dabbling in the things of the world. 

And Jesus continues imploring us: ‘But he that is an hireling (hired man), and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is a hireling, and careth not for the sheep.’ (John 10:12-13) 

Yeh friends, all the other leaders in the world are mere hirelings, working for money and power, and don’t really care about you or I. It’s all about them. And we see it so blatantly in these end times, there are so many dictators and would be dictators. But Jesus is not like that. He truly cares about us, that’s why He died for us. Glory to God! 

So let’s end with this most pertinent statement of His on the topic. ‘I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.’ (John 10:14) What confident words my brethren! The question now is, do you know Jesus, and does He know you? Let’s hope the answer to that is a resounding ‘YES!’ Much LOVE!

…only the sheep in the Good Shepherd’s fold…will be saved…come the end time…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 11 March 2018 Psalm 23:1.

Psalm 23:1.   The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

It’s time once again friends for our weekly rejuvenation; meaning it’s the Lord’s Day and we need to go to His sanctuary to get oiled and lubed, (smile) so we can handle the upcoming week’s affairs with strength, faith, hope and confidence. 

Oh by the way, for those of us who live in the Daylight Savings Time zones, please be reminded that the clocks went back one hour tonight, which means that church will held an hour earlier. So please don’t miss it by pleading ignorance of the time change. (smile) I won’t put it past many of you to do so. 

And as always, before we hear the Lord’s word, we offer up sacrifices of praise and worship, letting our heavenly Father know that we certainly do adore, glorify, exalt and LOVE Him. Today we’ll sing one of the most well-known and heartwarming passages in the Good Book – Psalm 23 – The Lord is my shepherd. 

Those immortal words of Bruh David had to be inspired by the Holy Spirit of God. They are too meaningful and applicable to our earthly lives to have simply come from a man’s finite mind. But be that as it may, let’s raise our voices in sweet adoration and wonderful harmony, as we lift up those words to heaven, words written so long ago, but which still retain their awesome power even to this day. 

‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters: He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 

Thou preparest a table in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Amen!’ 

Oh friends, did you feel the power of the Holy Spirit moving in your individual soul and felt like He was present everywhere in the sanctuary, just enveloping us all with His amazing and unconditional LOVE?  I surely did! But what a mighty work of God that Psalm is! Almost every believer knows it, and/or has used it in some tough and unforgiving times.  

And the opening verse, our Bit: ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want,’ is so all encompassing and comforting that I don’t where or how to start describing it, so I’ll just share the scholar’s explanation. ‘Psalm 23. The psalm has been a favourite of God’s people through the ages with due reason: it expresses as simply and clearly as any the role of God as our protector and provider in life. 

The charm of the psalm rests on two figures of speech: the Lord is compared to a shepherd and the believer to His sheep (vs.1-4); then the Lord is likened to a host with the believer as the guest (vs.5-6). The image of the Lord as shepherd is a frequent one in both the Old Testament (Is.40:11; Jer.31:10) and the New Testament (John10:11-16; Heb.13:20). 

Believers are never pictured in Scripture as mighty lions, independent and self-sufficient; rather, they are sheep who are dependent on their Shepherd for His provision and protection. The believer is more than a dependent sheep; however, he is also like and honoured guest, since the Lord prepares a table for him (v.5). 

Connected with this honoured position is abundant provision, vindication before one’s enemies, and eternal celebration of God’s goodness.’ 

Wow mih people! In what other faith can you have all of that goodness and LOVING-kindness eh? NONE WHATSOEVER! Only if you are a believer in Jesus can you have a Deity, lead and guide you in safe paths, beside quiet waters, look after all your needs, down here on earth, then take you to dwell with Him eternally in heaven when your earthly sojourn is over. 

And please note my fellow believers, the life of eternity in heaven will even be better than that we experience on earth. So you can imagine how wonderful heaven must be! I doubt it, because our minds are too small to imagine it, but Jesus has promised it, and He does not renege on promises. 

Now here are a couple of those other verses above that quote God as a shepherd, starting with Isaiah. When he talks about finding comfort through trust in God ‘He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.’ (Is.40:11) 

And here is the piece de resistance from Jesus Himself. ‘I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep… I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.’ (John 10:11, 14) 

And we’ll close with these most appropriate words from the author of Hebrews: ‘Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect (complete) in every good work to do his will, working in you what which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.’ (Heb.13:20-21) 

And that’s my wish for all of us today, my fellow believers. Much LOVE!

…oh how blessed we are to have a wonderful shepherd like Jesus…

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